This research analyzed the psychophysiological effects that expansive and contractive body poses have on the human body. Participants were asked to hold either an expansive or contractive body pose for two minutes prior to participating in a Color-Word Interference Test (CWT, which induced stress) and a gambling task (which measured risk tolerance). Heart rate variability (HRV) and electrodermal activity (EDA) for each participant was measured to gauge stress throughout the experiment. Positive and negative affect scales were used to measure mood before and after posing. Results of this research did not support our hypotheses, which were: 1. Expansive, dominant poses would cause an increase in performance on the stressful task, a decrease in both psychological and psychophysiological stress response, and an increase in risk tolerance and 2. Contractive, submissive poses would yield the opposite effect. This research was unable to find a connection between posture, risk tolerance, and feelings of improved mood.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Posture--Psychological aspects; Performance; Stress (Psychology)--Measurement; Risk-taking (Psychology)

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Experimental Psychology (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Psychology (CLA)


Joseph S. Baschnagel

Advisor/Committee Member

Tina M. Sutton

Advisor/Committee Member

John E. Edlund


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes